21 September 2010
500 security guards hired to protect staff from angry patients at municipal hospitals
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided to raise a special force to protect doctors at its hospitals.
The force, which will comprise of 300 men and 200 women, will cost BMC Rs 8.28 crore annually. The corporation controls three major hospitals KEM, Sion and Nair – and 14 peripheral health facilities.
The Maharashtra Resident Doctors’ Association (MARD) had brought operations at KEM to a halt for a day on August 24 after a doctor was assaulted by angry relatives of a dead patient.
More recently, doctors at V N Desai Hospital struck work on September 15 after doctors failed to revive a 19–year–old boy who had suffered electric shock. While relatives maintained that the boy was breathing when he was brought to the hospital, the doctors said he was ’brought dead.’
M/s Krystal Integrated Services, which has been contracted to provide BMC security guards to cover doctors in such eventualities, has committed to have 500 men and women on duty across various hospitals every single day all year round.
He said the agency has been asked to train its guards to tackle such situations. “We would expect them to be polite with patient’s relatives, while at the same time using force if the need be to protect doctors," he said.
While welcoming the creation of this special force, M D Swami, president, MARD’s KEM chapter, said hospitals should allow only one caretaker with a patient. “We have at least half a dozen people accompanying every patient. This must change," he said.